Lesson Transcript

Sakura: 日本文化レッスンでございます。Sakuraです。
Megumi: Megumi here.
Marky: Marky here.
Sakura: 今日は、Peterは、いません。 No Peter today. Yes, the girls have taken over, yeay!
Megumi: やったぁ。
Sakura: We have a special guest today. Hoo!
Megumi: Yeay! Welcome!
Sakura: Markyさんでーす。
Marky: Thank you, thank you.
Sakura: Yes and he did a special research for today’s topic which is

Lesson focus

Marky: Haunted places in Tokyo.
Sakura: Umm…
Marky: Uhoo…
Sakura: よろしくお願いします。
Megumi: よろしく。 Well Marquee, can you introduce yourself?
Marky: Sure. So I am from Chicago and I’ve been in Japan for two years. I love Japanese history and I love to visit old places to feel old Japan. It’s kind of difficult to do in Tokyo.
Sakura: Yeah.
Marky: But there are some haunted places.
Megumi: There certainly are a lot.
Marky: And I think those are a great way to get in touch with old Japan.
Sakura: あー、なるほどね。
Marky: I like to visit those. I like to…
Sakura: えー、ほんと?
Marky: ほんとですよ。
Megumi: You are brave.
Sakura: Brave えー、やだよ…そうか。 and you are going to tell us about those places you visited today.
Marky: Yeah I’d like to talk about a couple of them.
Sakura: Umm…
Marky: Where should we begin? How about 鈴ヶ森(すずがもり)?
Sakura: Which is close to my place. Not very close, but rather close.
Marky: Rather close?
Sakura: Yeah.
Marky: So do you know what 鈴ヶ森 was?
Sakura: えーとね。 Execution ground でしょ?
Marky: Yes. So yeah, there were over a 100,000 people executed there.
Sakura: Oh my gosh!
Marky: In the Edo period.
Sakura: Edo period.
Marky: Yeah.
Sakura: Edo period is around
Marky: 1600 to 1868.
Sakura: すごいね。 I can’t say this.
Megumi: I know.
Sakura: I relied on you…すごい、すばらしい。
Marky: So yeah, there are a lot of creepy things you can see there. People were beheaded, crucified, burned at the stake.
Sakura: やだー。
Marky: Actually there is a very famous woman, a woman I know who works in that area 大森海岸(おおもりかいがん)
Sakura: Yes, yes, yes.
Marky: So one night, so yeah 大森海岸 is maybe 3, 4 stations of the Yamanote line from Shinagawa station?
Sakura: Umm Shinagawa station. Yes, yes, yes and this is along The Tokaido Road which goes from Tokyo to Kyoto and like in old days, people traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto used to walk along that road. It’s a very traditional area.
Marky: Yes very, very traditional area.
Sakura: Yes.
Marky: Yeah. Yeah so in that place 大森海岸where you can find the 鈴ヶ森
Sakura: Yes.
Marky: A woman I know one night after working very late, she had to catch the last train home. As she was buying her ticket at the ticket machine, she felt like someone was looking at her. So she turns around and there is a woman in the disheveled dirty kimono, her hair is a mess. When she made eye contact, the woman burst into flame.
Sakura: やーだー。
Marky: And disappeared.
Sakura: やーだー。
Marky: So this woman is – she is fairly famous in Japan. Her name is 八百屋お七 and she started a fire in Edo to meet a lover that she met in another fire a few years before but the fire got out of control and burned much of Edo. So she was executed as an arsonist and burnt at the stake.
Sakura: うわぁ…
Marky: But she was only 15.
Sakura: え、そうなの? I didn’t know that.
Marky: Yes.
Sakura: ふーん、そうなんだ…
Marky: So she is in many famous Kabuki plays.
Sakura: Yes.
Marky: Yeah and it is still performed today.
Megumi: And what was that picture you showed me earlier with that sign, with her name on it?
Marky: It’s a sign to commemorate the spot where the stake was put in.
Megumi: And she was listed then.
Marky: Yes yeah. And she was tied up and yeah, executed there.
Sakura: いやー、こわいね。
Marky: Yeah.
Sakura: あ、そう。 Okay umm, let’s change the topic.
Marky: Okay.
Sakura: Okay.
Marky: It’s a good idea.
Sakura: ね? So..
Marky: Okay so next, another of my favorite places, really, really favorite place. It’s haunted but not in a scary way, I think.
Sakura: あ、ほんと?
Marky: Yeah this is a very famous shrine in Ueno Park. It’s a very famous shrine in Ueno Park, it’s called Ueno Toshogu.
Sakura: Yes. 
Megumi: 有名。
Marky: So Ueno Toshogu was built for the first Tokugawa shogun in Japan. So 徳川家康(とくがわいえやす). So the Tokugawa Shoguns ruled Japan for about 280 years I believe. In the last few years, there was a lot of turmoil in Japan.
Sakura: Yeah.
Marky: People couldn’t figure out what to do for the next government right. So there was one battle fought in Edo itself and this was the Ueno war. So the Tokugawa’s loyal samurai called 彰義隊(しょうぎたい) fought to the death in Ueno Park. So they wanted to die because their lifestyle was changing. They wouldn’t be allowed to be samurai under the new government. So they were quite willing to die for the shogun. And so here, in front of the founder of the Tokugawa government, they fought to the death.
Megumi: Samurai with loyalty.
Marky: Samurai loyalty but in front of Ueno Toshogu, the temperature drops right in front of the [*]00:07:19
Megumi: Could you feel that?
Marky: I’ve felt it, I felt it yes.
Megumi: Really?
Marky: Yes.
Sakura: やーだー。
Marky: And I didn’t know at that time. It was the first time I visited. I didn’t know anything about Japanese history. When I told my friend that I got some creepy feeling, he explained the story to me and it sort of launched my interest in Japanese history.
Sakura: もう、ちょっと、shivers
Megumi: Yes…Right now.
Sakura: Right now 本当…?
Megumi: It is fascinating.
Marky: Yeah, yeah. I recommend going there because it’s not scary though. They are very content, they are guarding, they are protecting the Tokugawa family.
Sakura: Well next time I go there….
Megumi: Yeah I know. Do you know anything else about the Ueno area?
Marky: The Ueno area, umm haunted?
Megumi: Uhoo..
Sakura: Or any other place in Tokyo.
Megumi: Yeah any other places.
Marky: Well there is another execution ground near Ueno called 小塚原(こづかっぱら)
Sakura: Okay and why don’t we go with something more cheerful?
Marky: Well like cemeteries.
Sakura: Umm cemeteries.
Megumi: But what do you know about cemeteries?
Marky: Well there are two like very large cemeteries in Tokyo. One is in Aoyama, very nice part of Tokyo.
Sakura: Yes.
Marky: Yeah Aoyama cemetery is very large.
Sakura: Yes.
Marky: And in the spring time, it’s actually quite famous for
Sakura: Cherry blossom viewing.
Marky: Exactly, exactly.
Sakura: Yes, yes.
Marky: So there are also ghosts there. I’ve heard that the train line. I can’t remember which train line goes under it.
Sakura: えっと、青山一丁目かな? Ginza line?
Marky: Ginza line yeah.
Sakura: Ginza Line I think.
Marky: I think it’s the Ginza line. I’ve heard that ghosts actually get on to the train and end up lost in Tokyo.
Megumi: Wow!
Sakura: So taking the train.
Marky: Taking the train. I’ve also heard about them taking taxis, back.
Sakura: あ、ほんと?
Marky: Yeah the taxi driver picks up a passenger, takes them to Aoyama and when they open the door, no one gets out.
Megumi: I hear these stories all the time like on TV.
Marky: Yes, yes, yes.
Sakura: That’s kind of funny though. They live there right?
Megumi: Yeah.
Marky: Yeah.
Sakura: Ah that’s not too bad.
Marky: Ah maybe they went shopping or…
Sakura: Maybe.
Marky: Also Yanaka Cemetery near Ueno is – it’s on the Yamanote line, I think Nishi-Nippori is the station name.
Sakura: Yes.
Marky: It’s very large like a small city.
Sakura: Hah!
Marky: Yeah, many, many cats, many, many crows and many, many graves.
Megumi: You said it’s so large that they even have maps.
Marky: Yeah, yeah.
Sakura: Really?
Marky: Yes. Yeah there are maps and there is also a very good pastry shop right at the entrance. And I think it’s also famous for cherry blossoms.
Sakura: Okay I think we had enough cheer for one day. Is there anything you want to add before we…
Marky: Ah well, do you know the 首塚(くびづか)?
Sakura: No.
Marky: It’s in Otemachi.
Sakura: Hah Otemachi is not so far from here though, not so far.
Marky: Very close.
Sakura: だよね。
Marky: So in – after World War II, the Allied forces wanted to build their headquarters there because it’s very near the imperial palace. So they wanted to move this shrine 首塚 and the Japanese said, don’t move it because it’s cursed. So the American military said, we don’t care. We are going to move it anyways. So they tied a rope around it…
Sakura: Yes.
Marky: And connected to a truck and tried to pull it out of the ground.
Sakura: Wow!
Marky: So they tried to pull the stone out.
Sakura: Yes.
Marky: And the truck tipped over and killed 16 American soldiers.
Sakura: Hah!
Megumi: Hah!
Marky: Yeah so they tried again a few days later.
Sakura: Yeah.
Marky: And same thing. Maybe 8 soldiers died the next time.
Sakura: Cursed.
Marky: Cursed. So they decided, let’s not move it.
Sakura: あ、そうなんだ。 It’s still there.
Marky: It’s still there.
Sakura: Otemachi is close to Tokyo station.
Megumi: Yeah.
Marky: Yeah, yeah, yeah very close.
Sakura: So if you want to visit, hah!
Megumi: So what’s the curse based upon? Is it a shrine, is it a monument?
Marky: It’s a mausoleum. So it’s a grave for a defeated samurai. He was not defeated in the Tokyo area. It was somewhere else but they said, his head flew to Otemachi and they buried it there.
Sakura: So many scary stories and the spirit stories today.
Marky: Yeah.
Sakura: Actually we have lots of all these ghost stories on TV in summer time called 怪談(かいだん). Yeah so if you – will you be still in Japan this summer?
Marky: Of course.
Sakura: Then please come back and tell us more about that ghost stories.
Marky: Absolutely.
Sakura: Summer again!
Megumi: I know.


Sakura: Too chilly for winter right. じゃ、またよろしくお願いいします。 So that’s it for today. またね。
Megumi: Bye bye.
Marky: Bye bye.


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